The Caribbean has had celebrated economists who, in their works, always sought to define the Caribbean experience and produce solutions to the region’s problems. Their achievements arose out of a need for a Third World economic story that was separate from that developed in more advanced nations. Economics, however, has been regarded as a “dismal science” (Carlyle 1849) and some have questioned if it is a science at all. For this essay, we assume that economics is a science and ask “Is and was scientific reasoning a part of economic reasoning in the Caribbean?” The analysis for this paper therefore considers both the publications based on the Caribbean from the 1960s and 1970s and the recent analytical trend in the Caribbean.
Scientific thinking has been classified by Dunbar and Klahr (2011) into two areas. The first form is the content of science; the topics that are examined. The other form is the methods by which content is added to the scientific space, i.e. reasoning. Reasoning is a process that may be social (in which researchers collaborate) (Moshman and Geil 1998), public (concepts are used to establish theories by using data) (Hendry 1980) and from which conclusions are derived. Utilized in science for the main purpose of knowledge development about the external world, reasoning
“is often characterized as the means by which one attempts to arrive at true or at least ‘rationally justified’ beliefs.” (Giere 1984, 24)
In establishing such beliefs, however, the truthfulness of a statement may not be achieved. Scientific inquiry is shaped by moral, culture and social values and therefore the truthfulness of statements and beliefs of statements may not be associated.
There are a variety of methods of justifying beliefs. Dunbar and Klahr (2012) list induction, deduction experimental design, hypothesis testing, hypothesis testing, concept formation or conceptual change, causal reasoning, problem solving, analogical reasoning and collaborative reasoning as forms of reasoning. Dunbar in another article (undated) included expertise as part of the scientific thinking. Ayalon and Even (2008) notes association and plausible inference as other processes. Further reading, though, indicates that the processes mentioned may not be clear cut in their use, that is, one process may be a part of another process. Most of the methods mentioned by Dunbar and Klahr (2012) will be discussed but with considerations of other authors.
Dunbar (undated) highlighted three aspects scientific thinking, one of which is hypothesis testing. In hypothesis testing logic is applied to a set of statements. These statements or propositions are a combination of premises and conclusions. The premises and their conclusions are evaluated for their truthfulness or justifiability of explanation. How these propositions are examined is referred to as reasoning strategies. There are three strategies in hypothesis testing: induction, deduction and...